Google Adwords 0808 278 1398 Bing Ads 0808 274 4482

But I’m his common law wife!

Actually, no you are not. There is no such thing.

Many people believe that if they live together for a certain time without being married, they become common law husband and wife and have the same rights on separation or death as married people.  This is not the case

If a non-married relationship ends, the parties have very few rights unless property is owned jointly or a cohabitation (living together) agreement has been signed at the beginning of the relationship

If property is owned jointly, it will be split 50/50 unless there is an agreement otherwise.  For example, if one person put more money into buying the property than the other and there is a clear agreement that they will get that extra money back, that will happen.  If not, it will be 50/50.  If property is owned in one person’s name, the other person will have no interest in it at all unless they can prove they have an interest.  This is a very complicated procedure and area of law

You may be living in rented accommodation.  If the tenancy is in only one person’s name, the other person may not have a right to stay there if the relationship ends.  You may have to make an application to court to determine if you can stay, even if you have children.  If the tenancy is in joint names, you are both entitled to stay there and this may cause problems if the split is acrimonious and you are both having to live in the property with your children witnessing arguments.  Again, you may have to apply to the court for an order determining whether your partner has to leave

There is no claim for any maintenance between the parties, only for children.  So, for example, if a 
mother has given up her career to look after the children and the relationship ends, she will not be able to claim maintenance for herself from the father and will be left to fend for herself, only claiming maintenance for the children

There is no right to claim anything from the other person’s pension, so, using the example above, if you are a mother who has given up your career to look after the children and you then split without your having any pension provision, you cannot make a claim against your partner’s pension.  There has, however, been a recent case decided by the courts which says if your partner dies, you may be able to have their pension

If one party dies during the relationship without making a Will, the surviving partner is not entitled to an interest in their estate.  There is provision for an application to court for an interest in the estate if the survivor was dependent upon the deceased.  Again, this is a complicated area of law.  Jointly owned property will go to the survivor

For all the above reasons, you are advised to enter into a living together agreement and to make a Will if you are thinking of, or are already, living together without being married.  This applies to same sex relationships as well as heterosexual ones

Gail Cook will be happy to speak to you about living together agreements and John Palmer and William Danvers are our Will making specialists

Expert legal advice you can rely on,
get in touch today:

Please let us know you are not a robot